A recent burn conducted at a bush reserve near Wedderburn held significance beyond being a land management tool.
Members of the Dja Dja Wurrung community applied the burning practices of their ancestors to Bush Heritage Australia’s Nardoo Hills Reserve, a parcel of land set aside for bush regeneration and conservation.
“Our fire management practice, which we call Djandak Wii, is an obligation we have to the land, and we love to see the greater biodiversity it brings, and the gradual return to health it brings to country,” Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation chief executive officer Rodney Carter said.
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The burn was also a chance for Dja Dja Wurrung people to connect to their ancestors, their culture, and each other.
Dja Dja Wurrung elder Aunty Marilyne Nicholls, who lit the burn, said it was a "healing and positive” event.
“It gave Dja Dja Wurrung member participants a long-missed opportunity to reconnect and actively practice traditions, in the same manner as their ancestors had done for thousands of years,” Aunty Marilyne said.
During burns such as this, traditional tools and techniques – including drip torches, strip lighting patterns and mineral earth breaks – are used to manage and control the fire, which burns at a low intensity.
The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation says 200 litres was needed for the two-day burn, with no water used on the second day.
It was in May last year that traditional burning practices were reintroduced to the Victorian landscape, with the first two burns taking place at Maryborough and Whipstick thanks to a partnership between the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and Forest Fire Management Victoria.
Nardoo Hills Reserve lies within the land of the Yung Balug clan, among whose ancestors is Jacky Logan, or Walpanumin, which translates literally to ‘burning with fire’.